Vera Wang’s Spring 2015 Bridal Collection film, Chasing Alix, was the first of its kind in how a designer debuted her bridal collection. The film features four young women searching for the elusive and astonishing Madame Grès. Who’s Madame Grès you ask? Scroll through to learn all about the mysterious fashion legend who inspired the film.
Madame Grès has often been called the “grand sphinx” of the haute couture—one of fashion’s most inscrutable and shadowy figures. Her very name conjures, first and foremost, the draped and pleated Grecian-goddess gowns that first made her famous in the thirties; but it also summons images of an elusive, turbaned figure presiding over a cloister-like salon, where she worked in near-religious silence, as if she were an oracle channeling the Divine.
No one doubts that she created some of the most beautifully intricate masterworks the haute monde has ever seen.
In her heyday, Madame Grès swathed the world’s most statuesque bodies—those of real-life goddesses such as Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly, and Jacqueline Kennedy—in stunning liquid-jersey gowns that harked back to the Olympian ideals of antiquity. But around her a multitude of questions swirled. What was her real name? Where did she come from? How did she make those dresses? Did she have hair under that turban?
The mythos of Madame Grès, as it would turn out, was the stuff of Greek tragedy, Russian drama, and Hitchcock suspense rolled into one: She was a solitary figure who—through sheer will and self-invention—rose to glory, only to make perplexing choices that brought ruin upon her house…